In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Minister Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, who serves as the Minister of State for External Affairs and Education, has expressed his grave concerns about the escalating ethnic violence in Manipur and the potential threat of Balkanisation along ethnic lines. The minister, representing Inner Manipur in the Lok Sabha, called upon the government to take decisive action to prevent the disintegration of the northeastern state.
The recent clashes between the Meitei community residing in the Imphal valley and the Kuki tribe settled in the hills have claimed the lives of over 70 people since May 3. The violence erupted as a result of the valley residents’ demand for inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category. This contentious issue has led to heightened tensions, with certain political elements attempting to exploit the situation for their own gain.
Minister Singh firmly denounced any attempts to create political divisions through heinous crimes, cautioning that such endeavors should never be allowed to succeed. He emphasized that the Union Government cannot be deceived by these schemes and urged the Prime Minister to suppress any attempts to break up Manipur with a resolute hand.
The minister highlighted the danger posed by the demand for a separate administration for the tribal communities within Manipur. He stressed that the state, with its 35 ethnic groups, must strive for peaceful coexistence, as any Balkanisation on ethnic lines would be detrimental. Singh referred to the ongoing conflicts between the Naga-Kuki, Meitei-Pangan (Muslim), and Meitei-Kuki communities as isolated incidents that should be addressed and controlled firmly.
Singh also cautioned against using inflammatory language and referred to the violence as “ethnic cleansing.” He urged public figures to exercise restraint and refrain from employing such dangerous expressions. The Manipur Director General of Police, P Doungel, supported this sentiment, denying allegations made by ten tribal MLAs that the Manipur Police had disarmed and stripped Kuki police officers before the outbreak of violence. The Manipur Police clarified that officers from both communities were carrying out their duties diligently at all levels.
As the situation in Manipur remains tense, the Union Minister’s letter serves as a reminder of the urgent need for a peaceful resolution and concerted efforts to restore harmony among the various ethnic groups. The government’s prompt and decisive action in curbing the violence and addressing the underlying issues will be crucial in ensuring the preservation of Manipur’s unity and the protection of its diverse communities.